Saturday, February 21, 2015

Day Six of My Captivity...

The beginning of this week started with the predictions of snow.  I was excited; it's been a long time since we've had snow.  My only worry was that the salt truck had not made a visit to our steep curvy hill.

We woke up to this Monday morning.  A bit of pelty snow -- that hard snow that looks like little Styrofoam balls.  I was so disappointed!

But then it continued to 'percepitate'.  It snowed, it sleeted, it dropped a wee bit of freezing rain.

Day Two:  Tuesday morning the yard was all sparkly and beautiful.

Day Three:  Wednesday the salt truck showed up but he didn't blade the road.  It was a mess.  We could barely walk up the hill, no way we could drive it.  Wednesday night we set a new record low... -5*F.

Day Four:  Thursday high temperature was 15*F.   No getting out today.  So we loafed and watched the deer browsing in the lower yard.  (That is Tripod... she and her family are regulars to our yard.)

Day Five:  Friday the road "looked" like it was melting with all that salt the road crew had laid down.  NOT!  It was our shortest trip ever... we made it 10 feet out of the driveway before we rolled/slid back in.  All that melty road was now a solid sheet of ice.

Then this started...

...more snow...

...and then freezing rain!

We went to bed with this radar image in our minds.  Prayers were said for PLEASE let us NOT loose electricity (exactly 21 years ago we had a big ice storm and lost power for 9 days!).

Day Six:  Today we woke up to rain... beautiful, wonderful wet rain.  The furnace was running and it was warm.

With all the dripping and slushy driveway, Himself decided to check out the road.  Surely it was melting fast.

As I watched him 'surf' down it a few times, I knew I probably wasn't getting out today.  He affirmed that when he finally came back in.

Then at 4:30pm I heard a wonderful sound!

The snow plow had come to rescue me from my cabin fever!

Or maybe not...

Yikes!!  That is our neighbor's yard he's sliding into... for the SECOND time!  He tried at least 10 times to get back up our hill.

I was starting to think we might have an overnight guest.

After an hour to trying, he finally made it up the hill.  I think we will be able to get out tomorrow... he laid down half a truck load of salt to use for traction to get out!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Whir of Wings

As you probably well know by now, Himself and I feed the birds.  We get a lot of visitors for "the morning buffet".  And with this extreme cold weather they are extra eager for their rations.

When Himself is putting out the feed, the birds will buzz him before he is finished.  So I decided to try a little experiment with them.  We brought the feeder back inside for about 20 minutes.  Oh they were upset with us!  

Then we came back out with a comfy chair and the feeder.  I was in several layers of clothing (it was about 10* F at that time).

And I sat...

For a few minutes all I heard was the whirring of wings and a LOT of chirping.  I figured out that they didn't like seeing my eyes, so I kept them just barely open...looking through my lashes (which is why I look so 'frowny'... 30 minutes of squinting is tiring!!).

And then a girl cardinal couldn't stand it any more...

Do you think she could lean any farther away?

Let's try it from this angle...

A little bit closer...

OK...chow time!

Seeing her eating, a chickadee got brave.  Which Lady Cardinal did not like!

After his LadyBird ate and survived the 'brave' male cardinal came in for a long lunch.

Seeing him there, a titmouse got brave in flew in for some munchies.

Rough landing.

Checking out my thumb.

This chickadee was waiting for someone to leave.  While he sat, he sang me a sweet little song.

When he landed I could barely feel his weight.  SO tiny!

The junco (AKA snowbird) never did get the nerve to land on the feeder.  He waited for seeds to be knocked down by others.

It was so incredible to sit there and listen.  Just listen.  With the snow and ice, there are no traffic sounds.  I could here the chirps and wings of the birds, the shrill call of a hawk, trees rubbing together... even the cracking of the icy snow as it melted a bit.

Tomorrow I'm going to get Himself out there to experience it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I'm Getting Rid of 40 Bags in 40 Days

After 6 weeks of spring cleaning, my cleaning/decluttering mojo is starting to wane.  Not good since I've just started the most cluttered area of all... my studio.

So it's time for me to challenge myself again... this time it is the "40 Bags in 40 Days" challenge which starts today.  It's by design that it starts today.  February 18th is the first day of Lent. 

The premise is simple... get 40 bags of junk out of your home in 40 days.  

Doesn't matter if it goes to the dump, to a thrift store, to a charity store, or even to your friends.  Just as long as it goes!  Size of bag doesn't matter either (tho picking the smallest you are only cheating yourself).  I will be using 13 gallon tall kitchen bags for the heavy stuff since we don't have trash service and have to heave our bags up into a dumpster at the county dumpster site.  Lighter stuff will go into a 33 gallon trash bag.

Anyone care to join me it this challenge?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Cream

All the predictions of up to 10" of snow... flopped.  We got about 2 inches of 'ice pellets', about a half inch of sleet, then about 3 inches of snow.  

Temperatures aren't supposed to get above freezing until Saturday so driving isn't happening any time soon with our steep hill.  So we decided to make lemonade out of lemons...

...or should I say snow ice cream out of snow!

I found five recipes for snow cream on Pinterest, and Himself picked the one he wanted to try.  He picked the 'most complicated' on because it would be more fun.

We mixed all the ingredients first because snow tends to melt fast.

He used the mixer to get everything really well incorporated.

Then I headed out to the most open (and therefore cleanest) area of the yard.

It was easy to get the snow with that icy base under it.

A bowl full of COLD!

I scooped it over to the mix...

...and stirred well.

A bowl full of snow cream.

But wait!  It's not finished yet...

The babies have told me you ALWAYS have to have sprinkles! 

It was soooooo good!

Below is the recipe we used.  But I'm putting in a disclaimer.  The recipe calls for one egg.  You all know all the warnings about eating raw/undercook egg products.  If that's an issue for you, get the pasterized egg products from the grocery store before the snow comes in.  

If you use an egg... it's all you!!!!!

The Best Snow Ice Cream Ever

We prefer to use fresh eggs from local and organic farmers. I know the way they raise and store their products and have no problem serving them to my family raw or undercooked. If you are not certain about the quality of your eggs, please use 1/4 cup pasteurized egg product instead.

Ingredients (Serves four, can be doubled):

1     organic, farm fresh egg
1     cup whole milk
1/2   cup organic cane sugar
1 1/2   tsp pure vanilla
1/4   tsp sea salt
8   – 12 cups fresh and clean snow

Instructions (5 minutes):

Make your custard: In a suitable sized mixing bowl, cream your egg on medium-high speed until lemon colored, about 20 – 30 seconds. Add milk, sugar, vanilla and sea salt. Cream for an additional 30 seconds, until well combined. Turn off mixer.

Make your snow: Hand stir snow, 1 – 2 cups at a time into custard. When desired consistency has been achieved, divide ice cream among four ice cream bowls. Serve and enjoy!

Notes: Because each snow fall is different, the amount of snow will vary each time you make this. Just keep adding it until you get a good ice cream consistency.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Little of This and a Little of That...

Wow.  When I put up my recipe yesterday I realized I hadn't posted in a whole week.  It's not that I haven't been busy... I've been very, very busy with more 'long haul' projects.  I'll be writing about them when I get done, but here are a few sneak peeks...

Been doing some staining...

... and some painting too.

Looking through my frames to switch out art.

And deciding which pieces of art and photography I want to enter in a contest (if we don't get snowed out!).

Helping Himself get his new computer up and running.

Working in my 'boho' studio...

Keeping clutter at bay...

And helping Himself with some of his sorting and culling.  I have plans for these old books!

Busyness abounds... just nothing to write about yet!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Salud! at Whole Foods - Valentine's Day Wine Pairing Dinner (with recipe for BLT Toasts)

How was your Valentine's Day?

Himself and I had a nice low key day.  We lazed around the house while baby sitting our friend's beagle.  Then we headed down to Nashville for the evening... not for a movie and dinner but to work a Valentine dinner at Whole Foods.

Well, I guess you could say it was for dinner.  For our labors, we partook of a wonderful appetizer of 'BLT Toasts', blue cheese salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, Beef Wellington, roasted baby vegetables, asparagus with pecorino cheese, and chocolate souffle for dessert.

The roses above were a gift from Merijoy for working on Valentine's Day.

BLT Toasts

The little BLT toasts were very tasty and easy to prepare.  Here's the recipe so you can try them out.  They are perfect for a nice finger food for a pot luck evening.

Tea Time Treats

Friday, February 6, 2015

Taking It In To Make It Work

When you're on a weight loss journey, one of the things you will deal with are clothes that don't fit anymore.  Sometimes you grin as you toss them into the 'donate' box.

But other times you either really like that piece of clothing or you need it.  Running out and getting new just isn't in the equation.

For example: my favorite pair of work jeans.  Just the right raggedity softness combine with an elastic waist that doesn't pinch as you twist in weird positions to get into the back of the closet or paint that little bitty area almost out of reach.

Nope, didn't want to junk these yet!  But they are starting to fall off (and that is a very good thing!).

Since I really had nothing to lose, I decided to try a bit of altering.  I decided how much I wanted to bring them in and pinned line to mark it.  Then I stitched along the line to create 'wings' of excess fabric.  I went right up over the elastic band but I did a quadruple stitch along there.

I tried it on to make sure it was where I wanted... then cut those wings off!

Much better!  

Not perfect but I do have other pairs of jeans to practice on.